Smoking and David Sedaris Essay

Submitted By jackievila
Words: 1350
Pages: 6

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times”, Mark Twain once said. This quote in many ways can relate to David Sedaris because Sedaris writes an article titled “Letting Go” which he explains his dislike of cigarettes as a child but also his addiction to cigarettes in his later years. Sedaris is a person with humor and anyone reading, “Letting Go” can see that. Sedaris is discussing a serious topic of the addiction to smoking cigarettes. He wittily contradicts himself in his whole essay, using his own humor to make fun of himself and smokers in general. Mostly everyone who smokes cigarettes, know they are horrible for your body, but continue to smoke. Sedaris captures the actual feeling smokers feel about it using his sarcasm and humor. Smoking is not a good thing for anyone, but Sedaris explains it first hand in a more loose and humorous way. Sedaris starts of his essay explaining his fourth grade field trip to the American Tobacco plant near his childhood home. He goes on saying how his class saw the making of cigarettes but also was given free packs to take home to their parents. Sedaris says, “I tell people this and they ask me how old I am, thinking, I guess, that I went to the world’s first elementary school, one where we wrote on cave walls and hunted our lunch with clubs” (Sedaris). This shows Sedaris first humorous line of his essay. It is completely obvious he did not grow up as a “caveman”, but smoking was a norm before the eighties. Today, no doubt everyone knows smoking cigarettes kill. Before the eighties, cigarettes were a lifestyle. It was an essential in everyday living. No one knew cigarettes were slowly decaying their bodies. That is why Sedaris went on a field trip as a fourth grader to see the making of cigarettes. Sedaris grew up with smoking lounges in his high school, ashtrays in movie theaters and grocery stores and getting offered a “puff” once they were old enough. Sedaris says he remembers poking several holes in his mom carton of cigarettes and getting beat for twenty seconds because of it. He remembers his mother running out of breath and standing there panting “that’s…. not…funny” (Sedaris). Heavily panting after twenty seconds of activity is not healthy and smokers at that time did not even think once that cigarettes caused that affect. Sedaris could not stress enough that seeing smoke and ashtrays everywhere did not want to make him smoke, it actually did the very opposite. He could not believe people did so after his first puff with his mother around the kitchen table. Sedaris eventually grew older and began smoking cigarettes as a daily routine. He said, “I realized that a lit cigarette acted as a kind of beacon, drawing in any freeloader who happened to see or smell it. It was like standing on a street corner and jiggling a palmful of quarters. “Spare change?” someone might ask. And what could you say?” (Sedaris). Being portrayed as a “freeloader” is not a good thing in any way. It is an addiction, you simply see someone light a cigarette or smell it from a few steps away and you immediately have the urge to ask for a few puffs. Just to get that little satisfaction. Sedaris explains that every type of brand of cigarettes had their own specific type of audience that smoked them. Every audience that represented that brand of cigarettes, off the bat was categorized. For example, Sedaris said, “Kools and Newports were for black people and lower-class whites. Camels were for procrastinators, those who wrote bad poetry, and those who put off writing bad poetry. Merits were for sex addicts, Salems for alcoholics, and Mores for people who considered themselves to be outrageous but really weren’t. One should never lend money to a Marlboro-menthol smoker, though you could usually count on a regular-Marlboro person to pay you back” (Sedaris). Being seen with a certain brand of cigarettes categorized yourself under a certain group no…